Sunday, November 30, 2008

Brendan Got A Tattoo

Sunday Morning Blues

I knew it would happen eventually.  Guess I just wasn't ready, though.  Sunday morning greeted BFE with some snow and "winter advisories".  Bad day for Brendan to head back to Fort Campbell.  Well, Floridians, look at this and be thankful for redundant sunny skies.    

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Brendan's Night In Aledo







We had planned to go to Aledo for a drink or two and then back to Burgess so Brendan could have a beer with Marvin and Janine, but, as we could/should have suspected, Aledo was difficult to leave. We met Mark and Holly at Scooters and eventually went over to Beerbellies.  Saw a lot of familiar faces and many wanted to thank Brendan for his service, particularly with alcohol.  

We got back home at a decent hour, but we were in no condition to stop anywhere else.  Next time, Burgess, I promise.   

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Army Hand Signals







The Army uses many strategies to accomplish its missions. Apparently in Army 101 the use of hand signals is highly emphasized. Here we have heavily classified and sophisticated signals that no doubt convey complex information to the knowledgeable "receiver".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Pics Of Tennessee Trip

Karen Booth, Brendan's friend from Birmingham England. Love the lilting poetry of the accent. She was "grossly humiliated" when a local BP would not sell her alcohol because she did not have an American ID. Of course everyone else took her UK ID.
Bastogne Division soldiers herding parents and friends to busses for the Welcome Home ceremony.

Banner hanging on the Days Inn where we stayed. This was the same motel we usually used when in Clarksville. The banner was free from Build-A-Sign company which has done some 45,000 of them for families. Great company.

Proud and beaming parents of an embarrassed soldier having to pose for another picture

Local joint with the best biscuits and gravy. We had breakfast here three times, and everyone always ordered the same thing.




Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is Mr. Waddles. He belongs to Franklin, a fellow soldier friend of Brendan's. He accompanied Franklin on all of his missions. Before Franklin came home he gave Mr. Waddles to Brendan so that he would be safe during his missions as well. Our family owes a debt of gratitude to Franklin and Mr. Waddles.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Couple Items In the Paper


Yesterdays Galesburg Register-Mail had an interesting ad on page three. It reads: "Thank You, To my son-in-law (not either of my daughters) for taking me to the emergency room." Well, that should be a cheery Thanksgiving Dinner.
* By the way, what is that thing in the lower left-hand corner. Is it a pepper? Or pickle? The mystery thickens.

The other is a rather sad one, announcing the closing of the old Skate Palace. We used to take some of the better behaved kids at the Mary Davis Home, back in the day when we were able to so such things. They had fun and the place seemed well run and supervised. However, just a year or so ago when I was working at the Knox County Academy it was a popular Friday night place to go. I can remember talking to some of them on Mondays and they would talk about the fights they intentionally choreographed, just for the fun of it. In fact I usually asked on Fridays if they were going to the Palace and fight, and many would say yes, and they had their targets all worked out. Sad way to have fun, and sad end to a good positive place that seemed to be anachronistic in today's world.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow Removal In BFE


As the temperatures drop, thoughts go to the winter worry of making it into work on time. Since it is a 20 minute or so drive, I asked to see the BFE snow removal program. I am very concerned.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Return

It was a great weekend. Brendan and his fellow 101st Screaming Eagles arrived more or less on time at Fort Campbell north of Clarksville, Tennessee. Going down it rained almost all the time until I got into Clarksville, and then it stopped. The roadside carnage of deer was unpleasant but slowed me down. I even saw two bucks fighting, antlers intertwined in the median! Can't imagine their having made it to safety when the scuffle ended.
And all the while thinking that this would be my last time down there. In the past 3 1/2 years we made perhaps a dozen trips to see Brendan and/or the kids. It holds special memories and this trip was no exception. Mackenzie was not able to join us because of work, but Brendan's wonderful friend, Karen, flew in from England for the occasion.
The Welcome Home ceremony went without a hitch but Nancy and I were ready for the emotional tugs the Army throws in for families. Still, it was an overwhelming experience and he looked like and acted like our Brendan. Funny, profane, thoughtful, and defender of the weak. Instead of the Screaming Eagles, he referred to them as "Squealing Chickens". Instead of defaming the Iraqis, he liked them and made friends with a couple. Instead of playing it safe and staying out of harms way the final weeks of "lame-duck" occupation, he volunteers for gunrunning convoy duty. Instead of flaunting battle scars, he says nothing, but we find three pictures of various wounds when things like shrapnel rattled around inside the hum-vees.
He has decided enough is enough and wants to try civilian life. This will happen mid to late February and till then he will be de-briefing, joining me for Thanksgiving and then heading to Florida for a few weeks.
We gave the Army a young, brash, headstrong, boy, and in return we have a young, brash, headstrong man. The difference is amazing. Welcome Home son, and thanks.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Am Back, And So Is My Son




I will post more news tomorrow and many more pics, but it is late and I am tired. I sleep tonight with one less worry. If you click on the lower picture you will be able to see the color guard approaching the plane from the left, as well as the base worker next to the truck with his hand on his heart. Not yet at the base of the stairs were no less than a General and Colonel who personally shook hands with each returning soldier.

Monday, November 10, 2008

No More Posts Till Weekend





I am heading to Clarksville, Tennessee early Tuesday morning to attend Brendan's second Welcome Home ceremony. These pictures are from his first return in '06. This year I'll take the camera but will try to get it on tape also.
Looking forward to seeing him and whoever else shows up. The plan is to be processed out of the Army next month, and then who knows. Regardless, the kid has done his duty, and we are all proud of his service.
I'll check back in later this week.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Pictures From Florida



Natural wonders of Florida. Another sunset, another opportunity to be amazed by "God's palette". And of course, Mackenzie and her personal trainer, Drew.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NEXT WEEK


It is still a "go" for Brendan's return from Iraq next Wednesday. Latest word: he has been running some final convoys as a gunner and we have lost contact with him (this means they are shutting down). Their company is packed and as soon as their convoys are over, he will move into Kuwait till their flight back to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
I will be leaving next Tuesday for Clarksville, Tennessee and watch the welcome home ceremony on Wednesday. Then back home on Thursday. Mackenzie can't make it, work won't allow it, but Nancy is planning on being there, and Karen (GF) from England is flying in also.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Tale Of Two Chillis





Last weekend I had a craving for some Ray's Chilli, the best canned stuff ever and something I have had occasionally for years. It's not good for you and I'm sure clogs most everything, but its damned good. I even went to Henderson Street Hy-Vee to find it (Wal-Mart evidently doesn't carry it, but all I found was a Kitchen Cooked brand besides the usual Bush's and Hormel brands.

I had some this week and it tasted just like Ray's. Now this weekend I went to Main Street Hy-Vee and I found Ray's Chilli on the shelves and, guess what? The ingredients are identical as well as the nutritional facts. The only difference I found is that the chilli is "Packed for Ray's Brand Products" as compared to "Distributed by Kitchen Cooked, Inc".
Rays also spells it "Chilli", while Kitchen Cooked spells it "Chili". Hmmm

Seems the possibilities are:
A. Both Illinois companies located only a few miles apart coincidentally came up with the perfect recipe for canned chilli.
B. A glitch in the portal of the Matrix.
Can' think of what else it could possibly be. But its nice to have two options.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Aftermath in BFE




Lawless BFE succumbs to marauding gang of toilet paper tossing terrorists. The morning sun illuminated the Halloween miscreants who desecrated the village square. Some might see this as civility run amok, nay, perhaps an apocalyptic foreboding for the peace and serenity of our dear community. This writer, however, sees an opportunity to save money in the coming months.

The Innate Intelligence of Cats



Being a cat lover myself I'm glad I found this video that nicely displays the intelligence, problem-solving prowess and dignity that is emblematic of the species. King of the Jungle, indeed!